I have long been embarrassed by the stand of many Republicans for whom I have often voted on their stance on the issue of homosexual discrimination by government. Government has absolutely no business discriminating against homosexuals or bisexuals or heterosexuals. Government must support the rights of every individual to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of their personal happiness. This does not allow exceptions for homosexuals, bisexuals, or heterosexuals or many other characteristics individuals have or choices that they make. Of course, for every Republican who embarrasses me in this regard, there are many more destructive and immoral choices made by almost every Democrat Socialist Party candidate. Political candidates are never entirely rational and moral.
I argued for an end to the Clinton Defense of Marriage Act and for the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. I contributed to the Log Cabin Republican effort in accomplishing these tasks and praised their work. I contributed to the Marylanders for Marriage Equality group when it was trying to promote the ballot initiative to equalize same-sex marriages in Maryland. That campaign was successful, with about half of all Maryland Republicans voting for it. Unfortunately, these groups are now turning to attempts to make it unlawful for businesses in the private sector to discriminate against gay people. On this matter, I part ways with these groups, for reasons of general principle and because their effort actually undermines their own right to freedom of association in a very fundamental and harmful way.
I find it an immoral act for a business to refuse service to someone because they are homosexual or because a gay couple may be married. I prefer not to do business with such a business and I applaud others who would not do so also. In doing so, I am discriminating in accordance with my values. This personal choice and expression of my own values and moral code is not one that I have the right to impose on others by the initiated use of force. It changes nothing morally if I join a majority of voters and elect politicians who will use the force wielded by government to accomplish this same goal of imposing my values and my morality on others. They too have a right to choose their own values and their own moral code. The fact that I disapprove of the choices some people make does not give me the right to marshal the force of government to suppress their choices of values and actions made in accordance with their moral values.
Good government cannot be achieved or evaluated without a rational reference to principle. Legitimate government has one and only one purpose. That purpose is to secure and protect the equal, sovereign rights of the individual to life, liberty, property, the ownership of one's own body, mind, and labor, and to the pursuit of one's own happiness. Government cannot do this if it does not allow individuals the implied freedom of conscience and the freedom of association. The individual in possession of his own mind establishes the principles and values of his conscience and he acts in his life upon those principles and values in forming associations with others. Good government imposes very little in the way of morality on its citizens. It only requires that they respect the equal rights of others by not initiating the use of force against others and by not defrauding them.
So if a person forms his moral principles and values in accordance with a Bible verse of the Old Testament such as Leviticus 20:13
Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be] upon them.without regard for the primitive, brutal nature of the times and the need of a small tribe to procreate madly in the interest of survival, it is not the role of good government to instruct this person on morality or to take actions against his discrimination in putting his moral beliefs into action, so long as his actions do not involve the initiated use of force or fraud. Government should not require that the believer in Leviticus 20:13 not have an aversion for gay sex, though it must draw the line in not allowing the believer in this brutal dictum to kill or use other violence against those who have voluntary gay sex as adults. In general, good government will no more prescribe morality than it will prescribe speech or dictate who one will marry or befriend. Individuals have the freedom to choose their values and the moral principles by which they will live. They enjoy freedom of conscience and freedom of association by choice.
These are freedoms are as critically essential to gay individuals as they are to heterosexual individuals. Indeed, when the general principles of individual rights are not respected by government, it is various small minorities who usually suffer the most. Historically, this has been clearly the case for homosexual and bisexual individuals.
Gay marriage is most often sold as a matter of equality, but that is a weak argument. The response of some conservatives and other religious people is that everyone has the equal opportunity to marry someone of the opposite sex, so equality is maintained. Of course, the freedom to enjoy one's own mind and body and to pursue one's own happiness may not be served by the equal opportunity to marry someone of the opposite sex. In the context of rights, only the even-handed behavior of government is mandated. Government must not differentiate the availability of equal domestic partnership contracts. A person of religious belief or otherwise in the private sector, however, need not regard a domestic contract as the equivalent of a requirement of respect for that partnership that he might grant to other partnerships approved by his religion. The private individual retains all rights to discrimination outside of governmental actions.
But the same-sex marriage advocates seemed rarely to worry about making a fundamental argument based on individual rights. Too few of them have thought in general principles of the legitimate function of government and its very limited purpose. Support for same-sex marriage has been based on a popularity contest riding the crest of a recent fad. The broad and necessary right of a gay individual to choose his own values, who he wants to associate intimately with, who he wants as a domestic partner, and who else he will discriminate against for these purposes, is apparently unknown to him, with few exceptions. Part of the problem is that most gay people do not think in terms of general good political principles because that would be inconsistent with the fact that most are too closely associated with the Democrat Socialist Party. It is very difficult to find a valid and strong argument for freedom of conscience and freedom of association from the perspective of a collectivist! Those arguments derive their strength from individualism and the clear and certain recognition that individuals are complex and highly differentiated. Every individual has the right to life and the right to pursue his own happiness. The nature of our lives, of our bodies and minds, and the paths to our happiness are rich in their variety.
I am discussing these fundamental issues of individual freedom pertaining to gay individuals now because of the recent hullabaloo over the Arizona state Senate Bill 1062 which allowed business owners to make association choices based on their religious beliefs. Now my objection to that bill is that it is defective in limiting the freedom of conscience to that subset of conscience deriving from religious beliefs. This is a common error in American law. In reality, the individual has a broad freedom of conscience and it is wrong for government to limit that freedom to only its religious expressions. I do not believe that when one owns a business, one gives up one's basic freedoms. If that were so, then every business owner in exercising his right to earn a living and to own property for the purpose of doing so, would be losing other fundamental and necessary rights. Our rights are broadly owned by each of us and we are rightly and properly deprived of them only when we initiate the use of force against others.
If a businessman is deprived of the right to discriminate against others for some choices or actions they take, can he long expect that he will be allowed to fire an employee who does not perform his job well. Will he soon be forced to buy goods and services for his business from inept suppliers because a supplier might be a brother-in-law of the governor or represent an industry that makes large campaign contributions? Must he sell items or services to some people preferred by the government at lower cost than to others? Will he be allowed to fire an employee or not do business with a supplier who lies to him? Businessmen have every bit as much need to discriminate among people based on their values as those who are not businessmen. An employee of a business has the right to judge his employer and if he finds him wanting, he is free to leave employment. The consumer is free to discriminate against a businessman and not buy the goods and services he offers for sale, unless the service falls under ObamaCare, if you go along with one important aberrant claim on how limited our rights are. In reality, our individual rights are not narrow, as American law tends to mistakenly take them to be, but they are broad, generous, and rich.
Legitimate and good government recognizes this fact. The presumption of good government is that the freedom of the individual is sovereign and inalienable. Only extremely rational reasons, agreed upon by most everyone, can be used to limit individual rights. It does not impose the moral preferences bare majorities or a favored faction on others. It must allow the individual the freedom to use his own mind and to act upon his own view of reality with only the most necessary limitation that we all have the equal right to do that. None of us has the right to initiate the use of force to limit the choices and actions of others and we do not gain that right by manipulating a government to do this for us. The presumption of individual freedom must be very strong in the healthy, individualist society.
Does the gay person refused service by a business suffer a measure of harm? Yes he does. He is done an injustice. But, if the government forces a business owner whose moral beliefs dictate that he should not serve the gay person to serve him, then the business owner has also suffered a harm. There is no way violating the rights of one person to prevent a harm or an injustice to another can be worked to prevent harm and injustice. That course of action simply guarantees more harm and more injustice. We have to expect in life that some people are going to make moral choices others of us will not like. We cannot treat someone as a slave to be ordered about just because we believe they have done an injustice and that their morality is not as good as ours is. No, in a free society one simply seeks out other adults who are willing to associate with us. This is so for much the same fundamental reason that we do not force someone to associate with us for the purposes of sex. Voluntary consent is critical in a free society.
While the modern Progressive Elitist does not believe freedom of speech and of the press is a broad right anymore and often wishes to limit them based on harm or hurt feelings, these rights are very broad. It has served us well to enjoy a broad right to speak and write our minds. It has served our society well to allow people to choose their own values, formulate or adopt their own moral ideas, and to manage their own lives. While freedom of conscience and freedom of association are not always given the broad protections they should be given, for the most part in the non-business private sector they are tolerated by our government. They should be equally tolerated in the business sector. Indeed, they should be given a very committed and strong protection in all of the private sector in America. If they are, gay individuals will prosper and flourish more certainly than if they are not.